Published: 10/29/2020 1:37:59 PM
A vehicle that rolled into the Souhegan in Wilton Wednesday afternoon was unattended, but its owner is commending a bystander for wading into the river to check for occupants. Officers were summoned to the parking lot behind the Souhegan Street mills after a silver Honda Fit owned by Peterborough resident Michael Teitsch rolled down a short, steep embankment into the river a little after 5 p.m., Officer Matt Holland said.
“It’s one of those really weird things that happens and you wonder, who can that happen to?” Teitsch said on Thursday. Teitsch had parked his car at the top of the hill and went into the building where he has a studio, but apparently forgot to pull the emergency brake all the way down, he said.
Tammy Guthrie, who works in the building, had been going to her own vehicle when she noticed Teitsch’s car start to move in a long, sweeping arc across the parking lot and drop over the edge into the river, Teitsch said. She assumed someone had been behind the wheel and ran down to the river, wading out to her waist to check for occupants. “It was pretty brave for her to do that,” Teitsch said, with freezing cold water to boot. “Way above the call of duty,” he said. Teitsch himself was inside the building as emergency vehicles arrived, and wondered what was going on when he saw Guthrie run back into the building, soaking wet. After he found out what she had done, Teitsch called Guthrie to express his gratitude.
The vehicle took about two hours to extract from the river, Holland said. “Everybody I’ve talked to says when a car goes in the water, it’s pretty much over except the crying,” Teitsch said. “It was a great car, too. I loved my car.” He said he was grateful the vehicle didn’t hit any others in the lot on its “little exodus” and that the emergency responders and tow truck driver were good to him. Someday, he said, he hopes the whole episode becomes something he can laugh about.